Title: Determining optimum customer participation level in services: perceptual biases and congruence

Authors: Ahmet Semih Ozkul; Uzay Damali; Anup Menon Nandialath; Andrew M. Stapleton

Addresses: University of New Haven, Maxcy Hall 116B, West Haven, CT 06516, USA ' University of Wisconsin La Crosse, 418-M Wimberly Hall, La Crosse, WI 54601, USA ' University of Wisconsin La Crosse, 418-M Wimberly Hall, La Crosse, WI 54601, USA ' University of Wisconsin La Crosse, 418-M Wimberly Hall, La Crosse, WI 54601, USA

Abstract: The effect of increased customer participation on service quality remains an enduring dialogue in the services literature. We study the relationship between increased customer participation (i.e., customer workload) and service quality from the theoretical lens of perceptual congruence, a perceptual state in which a customer and a front-line employee have similar perceptions of a co-produced service output. We use an analytical model that relates customer work allocation to perceptual congruence through perceptual biases of a customer and employee. Based on our model, we identify four cases for the service design and present strategies to increase customer work allocation while keeping the perceptual congruence. While the term 'bias' may have a negative connotation, proper management of perceptual biases could allow a service to increase customer work allocation and achieve perceptual congruence at the same time.

Keywords: co-production; customer participation; customer workload; service quality; perceptual bias; perceptual congruence.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPQM.2020.108378

International Journal of Productivity and Quality Management, 2020 Vol.30 No.3, pp.323 - 342

Received: 29 Oct 2018
Accepted: 12 Mar 2019

Published online: 03 Jul 2020 *

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